Excerpt from Artist on the Verge 3
"Technology as a creative medium has led me to the threshold of a miniature world, inhabited by small cameras, projectors, and puppets. I cannot claim to be a bona fide puppeteer, but I am making inroads in mechanical, miniature theater. With analog and digital technology I orchestrate tiny robotic figures, or automatons, and mix in other visual and interactive elements, such as projections and biomedical technology. Heart-rate sensors allow me to capture the human pulse digitally and render the digital into another form, such as mechanized motion or light. I’m interested in the displacement of the heartbeat outside the body and the experience of the real and artificial pulsing together.
My projection work stems from my collaborations with the collective Minneapolis Art on Wheels, whose outdoor projections range from large-scale drawings displayed on buildings to tiny animations beamed on sidewalks. Mobility is important to MAW and recently inspired the creation of a handheld, portable projector.
A similar device plays a pivotal role in my latest work, Near the Ghosts of Sugarloaf. This piece draws from my experiences deer hunting in northern Minnesota and deploys a miniature automaton and landscape in the likeness of a deer hunter and boreal forest. What the puppet hunter sees via a small camera attached to its head is broadcast live to a pulse-sensitive portable projector. Viewers may wander throughout the Soap Factory [exhibit location] with this device in search of projection surfaces. In the projected image, participants see the miniature landscape through the eye of the puppet. Through the “eyes of the projection,” they intimately experience the hunt modulated by the rhythm of their pulse captured through the stock of the projection device.
The miniature realm is appropriate for my relatively small and remote world of hunting. It deals first with the divide between my personal activity as a hunter and the emotions I intend to convey. Accuracy is obviously impossible, especially in an urban environment like the Soap Factory, yet my miniature theater deliberately owns that irony and exploits it in a way unique to puppetry. The work’s playful abstraction of my subject relays a mood true to the forest in which I hunt and conjures the spirit of the hunt. Puppetry and technology allow the story to unfold as both an artificial reality and an evocative experience. I want to continue mixing technology and traditional art forms as open tools for telling stories in a new form."